2014 World Café
College Students sponsor a WORLD CAFÉ
High School and College students from the Belfast, Rockland, and Camden Conference venues gathered together in Camden on Saturday night of the 2014 Conference to participate in a World Café on the global challenges of food and water. Sponsored by the Camden Conference Education Committee, the faculty and students from College of the Atlantic (Suzanne Morse) and Unity College (Jean English and Crista Straub) hosted the event, with two student leaders guiding the process: Sasha Timpson from College of the Atlantic, and Quinn Boyle from Unity College.
Student leaders guided three 15 minute conversations at 16 tables, as four to six students and professors addressed a Café question. Between each of three Café questions, leaders from tables shared highlights from the table dialogue. For the next Café question, leaders remained at their tables while others moved to different tables for the next conversation. Fred Kirschenmann, keynote speaker, and Bruce Cole, Co-Chair of the Program Committee, joined the table conversations all evening.
Café Question #1: What have you learned during the conference that made you think differently about food and water? Sample of table ideas:
1. Need to nurture and support more passionate young farmers.
2. Importance of spreading agroforestry.
3. Need to promote biodiversity in the oceans.
4. Need to work on the food distribution challenge.
5. Need for broad education on food and water challenges.
Café Question #2: What are important aspects of food and water politics that were not touched on by the speakers? What questions would you pose to the panelists on Sunday? Sample of table ideas:
1. Expand on the effects of poverty or wealth.
2. How can small farmers become more involved in the solutions?
3. How might the US admit its mistakes in the food industry?
4. What might be elements of a strategic plan for Africa’s food and water issues?
5. What is Monsanto doing about energy?
6. How can food education become more central for addressing global and local challenges?
7. How do we make food more affordable for those with very limited means?
8. How might we develop urban farming faster and better?
9. How are seeds/food industry connected to the pharmaceutical industry?
10. How do we prevent the extinction of bees?
Café Question #3: In moving forward, what ideas and actions can we take that diminish the current inequalities of food, wealth and governance in both local and global food systems? Sample of table conversation ideas:
1. Food security and local food sources must be integrated.
2. Trade should play a major role.
3. More investment in research is required in the developing world.
4. With increased knowledge, think local, act local, then global.
5. Learn what resources are available in other places.
6. Develop sustainable energy.
7. Need to promote a grass roots movement.
8. Education about government regulations is vital to moving forward; how might our representatives represent us?
To wrap up the discussion everyone was invited to join in a large circle and offer insights and reflections on the World Café event. A sample of ideas follows:
1. There is a great need to empower women in every country.
2. Education on global food and water challenges is imperative.
3. Student participation should be encouraged in all aspects of food and water development.
4. If we all do small things, big things will happen.
5. Imagination and creativity are important.
6. Don’t leave the conversation here!
Former Navy Captain, Bill Taylor, challenged students further by offering $1,000 for the best student team research proposal that addresses one or more global issue of food and water. Students already are considering their options to this latest Camden Conference challenge.
High School and College students are aware that they will be leaders in the coming decades in addressing food and water development for the planet.
Students posted their table and wall artwork the next day at the Camden Opera House, to share with everyone in the refreshment hallways. Unity College created a brief video of the event.